Press Release 27/2007

HEPHAISTOS – Microwaves Forge Materials

Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe Opens Industrial Test Center with the Largest Microwave Process Facility in the World
Three large microwave process facilities in the new test center of the Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe (Photo by: Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe)

Dr. Elisabeth Zuber-Knost
Press Officer

Kaiserstraße 12
76131 Karlsruhe, Germany
Phone: +49 (0) 721/608-2089
Fax: +49 (0) 721/608-3658

Microwaves are applied in a variety of ways in research, industry, and households. The Institute for Pulsed Power and Microwave Technology (IHM) of the Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe is presently establishing a microwave test center that also accommodates the world’s largest microwave process facility. The recently commissioned HEPHAISTOS-CA3 facility has a volume that corresponds to roundabout 500 household microwaves and is walkable. Among others, carbon fiber-reinforced lightweight composite structures are being developed for airplane and vehicle construction. Moreover, novel flow methods will be conceived in the future. Presently, three different large facilities are available for industrial process development. Work is aimed at ensuring mobility and increasing energy efficiency in production.

For details, please contact:

Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe
Public Relations and Marketing Department
Inge Arnold

Postfach 3640
76021 Karlsruhe, Germany
Phone: +49 (0) 7247 82-2861
Fax: +49 (0) 7247 82-5080

Microwaves in the form of various technical applications have already become a natural part of modern life. The best-known examples are kitchen microwaves. Compared to conventional heating methods, microwaves have special advantages. They only heat the process material, the oven itself stays cold. As the microwave energy penetrates into the material at the moment of its generation, heating times and, hence, industrial process cycles are shortened considerably. Chemical reactions may be accelerated under the impact of microwaves, material properties and qualities can be improved.

To develop innovative processes, the Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe is currently establishing a microwave test center. It accommodates the world’s largest microwave process facility HEPHAISTOS-CA3 with a process volume of roundabout 7 m3. Hence, this facility is walkable. HEPHAISTOS-CA3 is supposed to increasingly attract industry partners for the development of resource-efficient production methods or novel materials in joint projects.

“For the first time, it is also possible to test flow methods in HEPHAISTOS-CA3”, underlines Dr. Lambert Feher from the Institute for Pulsed Power and Microwave Technology (IHM) of the Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe, who heads the working group of “Industrial Microwave Technology”. This working group is studying the fundamentals of field theory, quantum mechanics interaction of electromagnetic field distributions with matter, and its temperature response behavior in experiment and theory. A major development on this basis is an innovative microwave applicator concept that generates large-area homogeneous electromagnetic fields and has been commercialized on the industrial level by successful technology transfer.

The working group “Industrial Microwave Technology“ in the new microwave test center at the Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe (Photo by: Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe)

The Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) represents the merger of the Universität Karlsruhe with the Forschungszentrum Karlsruhe. Altogether, it has 8000 employees and an annual budget of 600 million Euros. In the KIT, both partners are bundling their scientific competences and capacities, establishing optimum research structures, and developing joint strategies and visions.

The KIT will be an institution of internationally excellent research and teaching in natural and engineering sciences. KIT shall attract the best experts from all over the world, set new standards in teaching and promotion of young scientists, and establish the leading European center in the field of energy research. KIT will assume a leading role in nanosciences worldwide. It is the objective of KIT to be one of the most important cooperation partners of industry.

jh, November 28, 2007


Monika Landgraf
Head of Corporate Communications, Chief Press Officer
Phone: +49 721 608-41150
Fax: +49 721 608-43658
presseRdi3∂kit edu

Contact for this press release:

Inge Arnold
Presse, Kommunikation und Marketing (PKM)
Phone: +49 721 608-22861
Fax: +49 721 608-25080
inge arnoldVtb4∂kit edu
The photo in the best quality available to us may be requested by
presseTjl0∂kit edu or phone: +49 721 608-41105.